Killer List of Videogames
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
|Type of site||Arcade game database|
|Owner||International Arcade Museum|
|Alexa rank||16,172,890 (September 2013[update])|
The Killer List of Videogames (KLOV) is a web site featuring an online encyclopedia devoted to cataloging arcade games past and present. It is the video game department of the International Arcade Museum, and has been referred to as "the IMDb for players".
The KLOV's encyclopedia contains extensive entries for more than 4,650 machines made from 1971 through the present. It has cabinet, control panel and marquee images, screen shots and even 3D models of the machine in some cases. Entries have machine technical information, a game description, cabinet information, lists cheats, tricks and bugs, discusses conversions and game play, lists trivia and fix information and discusses the game's legacy (such as sequels or similar games it inspired). Nearly 1000 entries even have the complete technical manual and/or schematics available for download.
The KLOV's entries are heavily weighted for classic arcade games: that is, games released during the Golden Age of Arcade Games. Most arcade games have an entry, though entries for newer games tend to be spotty. The more popular a game was, the more extensive the entry is likely to be.
The encyclopedia database is actually a subset of that on the International Arcade Museum’s web site, which expands on the videogame entries with an additional 9,000 entries on other types of coin-operated machines such as pinball machines, slot machines, vending, trade stimulators, and scales.
The site features a "Machine of the Moment" and maintains a list of "The Top 100 Videogames". The site also hosts message boards where collectors and fans can ask questions and get answers from experts, and buy or sell arcade games and parts. It also publishes news related to arcade games.
Long before the KLOV offered the full video-game encyclopedia and related products and services it does today, arcade enthusiasts gathered on modem-based dial-up bulletin board systems and CompuServe forums. It was during this era in the mid-1980s that a master list of coin-operated videogames was slowly built by these enthusiasts.
This text list became “Coin-Ops A Poppin' - Killer List of Videogames" in 1991. Its first known maintainer was Mike Hughey, and its second, Jeff Hansen.
Also by 1991, a separate list called ‘The definitive arcade video game cheat sheet’ was maintained by Jeremy Radlow.
Jonathan Deitch took over the management of both lists in 1992, which then received frequent updates during his watch. He moved the lists into their first structured database using the database part of the software package Appleworks on an Apple II computer. The KLOV was distributed via BBS systems, as well as via the Internet Usenet group “rec.games.video.arcade,” both of which also provided a reference source for updates to the list.
The list finally passed the 1,000 entry point in March, 1993. At this time, the largest entry had 4 lines of text with a maximum of 75 characters per line.
In 1994 or 1995, a classic arcade game collector in Minnesota by the name of Brian Johnson volunteered to take on upkeep of the list and became the new “KLOV Keeper,” a title used to refer to the maintainer of the KLOV by the Usenet collector community at the time. The KLOV launched as a full brand on or before November 9, 1995. Brian was instrumental in developing the KLOV's web site from a simple list to a full web-based encyclopedia. Brian's efforts included breaking up the list into a complete online encyclopedia with distinct pages for each entry, rewriting all the content, including pictures in as many listings as was possible, and in general creating a user-friendly and searchable website. Visitors could submit suggested changes to Brian, who could then edit any entries by hand.
In late 1999, the KLOV finally reached 2000 entries. By this time the increasing level of submissions and suggestions was becoming nearly unmanageable for any single person to keep up with, and the work load began to exceed Brian’s available time.
In January 2000, Greg McLemore became the latest KLOV Keeper. His company, WebMagic, registered the Internet domain name 'KLOV.com' for the site on January 13, 2000. This caused a bit of a controversy since contributors to the KLOV prior to Webmagic's takeover had made their donations to a volunteer effort. When WebMagic took over, there was consternation on the part of the past contributors as Webmagic's motivation of ownership was to monetize the KLOV archive - a direction that was very much against the spirit of why the list/database was started in the first place.
Webmagic's owners have very little interest in upkeep or attempting to correct the countless errors that exist in KLOV, and updates or corrections to the database are very uncommon. As of April, 06 2012, KLOV's website still uses Brian's original website template from a decade ago.
Community message forums were quickly added to the site, as was a new moderated wiki-style information update system to allow multiple people to administer user contributions. As before, users contributions were screened before being added, though updates were now tracked and submissions would be automatically tied to the record they belonged to. WebMagic also replaced Brian’s Perl and flat file data system with a PHP and full SQL database solution utilizing LAMP technology.
At this time the KLOV also further clarified its copyright notices and updated its acceptable use guidelines, which remain liberal[clarification needed] to this day. These clarifications were designed to help prevent improper use of KLOV data — in particular but not exclusively, to prevent mass copying. The growth of pay per click advertising on the Internet had created a new problem. Poachers began to copy the content of other sites en masse in order to try to profit from their content. This is particularly problematic for sites such as KLOV’s with user generated content, as misdirected visitors are visitors that are unable to submit additions, corrections, and other contributions to the site’s encyclopedia.
The new user submission system led to a rapid growth in the KLOV, and by the end of 2000, the KLOV’s encyclopedia had more than 3000 game entries.
The following year brought expanded support for hand held mobile devices. After a long beta testing period, version 1.0 of the “KLOV for Palm 7” application was released on May 25, 2001. This 100% free application allowed anyone with a Palm 7 wireless PDA to access KLOV game entries with text and graphics while on the road. This application is no longer maintained since modern cell phones such as the iPhone and Palm Pre can directly display the KLOV’s offerings via built in modern web browsers.
Additionally, after receiving well over 100,000 messages, the KLOV's popular message forums were updated in 2001, and the new system, at http://forums.klov.com/, have since received an additional 850,000+ messages to date.
In December 2002, the International Arcade Museum was formed to expand on work done by the KLOV over the previous decade. Greg McLemore remains the KLOV Keeper and WebMagic remains a chief financial contributor.
The KLOV officially becomes became part of The International Arcade Museum.
The KLOV passes 4000 video-game entries in September 2003.
2004 and 2005:
The KLOV focused on adding photos to as many machines as possible that previously had none.
On January 23, 2006, The International Arcade Museum assumed operation of the Video Arcade Preservation Society (VAPS), the leading collector’s group and census taker serving the coin-operated video game community. The VAPS.org web site was also converted to work on the LAMP platform, and links between the KLOV and VAPS were created.
Each individual game's entry in KLOV has a dynamic account of the Video Arcade Preservation Society's (VAPS) current statistics regarding collector ownership of that particular game.
As a result of the VAPS numbers in KLOV entries, those with little knowledge of a game might infer that a game is far more uncommon than it really is. Because of this, a few sellers on eBay quoted KLOV entries only for the VAPS numbers as "proof" of the rarity of a title, potentially misleading suspecting buyers. In response, the KLOV added ‘Wanted’ VAPS statistics to its game pages and added explanatory text that machines might be uncommon in collections simply because no one wanted them even though they might exist in quantity in dealers' inventories.
In 2009, the KLOV’s message forums were upgraded and moved to http://forums.arcade-museum.com/ as the forums were serving both sites and have sections about all types of coin-operated machines in addition to videogame sections. The old forum URL continues to work as a redirect to the new address.
Also in 2009, the VAPS.org web site was upgraded and moved to http://www.arcade-museum.com/vaps/ in order to enhance features connecting both VAPS and the KLOV.
Work is currently underway to rework the content submission system. While the current created in 2000 was a vast improvement over the previous system in that it allowed multiple content moderators instead of one, the moderators still present a bottleneck in the screening process due to the huge level of user submissions. The new system will allow groups of logged in users to approve or disapprove the submissions of others. While the new system is being developed, the processing of submissions has been greatly reduced, and a backlog currently exists of thousands of images, text changes, and new entries.
- MobyGames, a similar project for consumer video games